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Sat Jan 30, 2021, 12:11 AM Jan 2021

A reporter shares her minute-by-minute recollection of being trapped in the Senate on Jan. 6 ... [View all]

Tweet text:
Grace Segers
I was in the Capitol on January 6. I wrote a minute-by-minute account of my experience of the day for @Poynter. I tried to capture the anxiety and fear of that day, and the terror that came from later learning how bad it could have been. Read it here:

A reporter shares her minute-by-minute recollection of being trapped in the Senate on Jan. 6 -...
CBS News’ Grace Segers was in the Senate press gallery when rioters overran the building and was shuffled around with senators as the chaos unfolded.
6:09 AM · Jan 29, 2021


I was in the Senate print press gallery when all hell broke loose.

As the reporter for CBS News covering the Senate on Jan. 6, my job was simple. Electronics aren’t allowed in the Senate chamber, and C-SPAN cameras only point at the dais in the front of the room and whoever happens to be speaking at the moment.

My task — as it had been during the impeachment trial last year — was to sit inside the Senate chamber and take notes on what was happening.

Who was chatting, who was taking notes, who was fidgeting, who was on their phone. I like to think of it as gauging the “vibe” in the chamber, and my regular email updates to the rest of the CBS News bureau amounted to “vibe checks.” I would spend about half an hour in the room, and then return to the print press gallery to shoot a mass email to CBS about what was going on inside.

The print press gallery is a series of rooms that opens into a balcony overlooking the Senate chamber. Imagine the chamber as a fish bowl. The bottom of the fish bowl is the floor of the chamber on the second story of the Capitol; that’s where the senators meet. There are balconies around the edges of the chamber on the third floor of the building — the lip of the fish bowl. Members of the press have one side of the fish bowl all to ourselves and are able to stare over the edge of the balcony and observe the pontificating subjects below.

Even before the rioters overran the building, I could sense a disturbance within the fish bowl. Outside, there were demonstrators screaming and threatening violence. Inside, several senators were calmly arguing in favor of doing the very thing that the demonstrators wanted — seeking to overturn the election.


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